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You Don’t Need an Agent and You Don’t Require Expensive Headshots

Over the years the Production Team at iFilmGroup has received thousands of people wishing to be a part of productions. This along with being asked what is the proper way to apply for a role, casting call or to an audition call. What do you send and how? The simple answer is much like how you apply to a job, but with some added steps, info, and material.  

Saying “I’d like to be a part of your film” is not enough. Many beginning actors and even some more veteran actors may not know the best way to go about submitting themselves for roles in films, commercials, plays, etc. As an actor, one might assume that everyone with a passion for acting would stay up to date on proper etiquette in submitting headshots and resumes for casting calls, but it seems that's a wrong assumption.

As for when you submit for a job interview you want to stand out. You do this through submitting two important things: an Acting resume with your past experience and a headshot. Which is a picture, generally a head to shoulder or mid-chest picture. Sometimes it’s a head to waist picture of yourself. Most times these pictures should be taken by a professional or someone good with photography so that you look your best. Some organizations are fine with selfies or self-taken pictures but for many this will not pass. (we don’t want you to over spend and rush out and get expensive professional headshots.) iFilmGroup.org does hold “Headshot” Workshops offering headshots under $50.

The next question that comes up is… “but what if I have no experience?” The answer in some cases is; “that might eliminate you from the selection process, but some independent film companies, including iFilmGroup, will accept a note that explains that you are passionate about acting and you are looking to break into the industry and are willing to accept any role either speaking or an extra.”
The headshot is key to help the team selecting the cast for a production to see what you look like and how you might fit into the production.

The important thing is to figure out how you might stand out from the crowd regardless of your level of experience.  Casting directors, film directors, and producers who cast for a film, filter through hundreds, if not thousands of head-shots and resumes every day. So how do you effectively stand out from the crowd, and not have your submission thrown in the trash.
So, here is a list of helpful hints on what to do for submitting to roles. Below is a top 10 list of things to consider and do before submitting for a casting call or role.

#1. RESEARCH THE ROLE – Do your online research on what the production company is looking for and what roles that fit for you. Read carefully ALL the information in regards to the casting and audition process. Do not submit to something you do not fit the description of. Casting directors must filter through thousands of head-shots and resumes and by submitting your information to something that does not apply to you just makes their job more difficult. Thus, probably less likely to hire you in the future.

#2. UP-TO-DATE PHOTO * - Send an updated acting resume and ensure when you submit a photo, it shouldn't be more than 5 years old. The more recent the photo, the better. Especially if you drastically change your looks by cutting or coloring your hair. If the only headshot you have is of your blonde hair and you've recently dyed it black then make sure you draw that to the attention of the casting team and it likely is time to get a new headshot.  The casting department won't be too happy if you come into an audition looking different than in your headshot. The same goes for when you show up to an audition and you're 10 years older than your picture. Keep it all up-to-date. Pictures should be in JPEG, PNG or PDF format.

*[Make sure you name the photo file as your name. Example: janedoe.jpg We receive 100’s of photo files with no reference of sender]. See Item #7 Below.

#3. HAVE OR CREATE ACTING RESUME * - Your professional resume should stand alone from your acting resume. They are considered as two different things in the entertainment industry, so take the time to write a resume on your acting experiences. If you are not sure how to create an acting resume research it online. Most productions companies do not want to see or have you include your background, stand-in or photo double work in your acting resume. Those areas of work do not illustrate your acting talent. But certain production companies and production houses are open to this if that is the only experience you have and are looking to break into the industry. iFilmGroup is included in this category. We want to see all your acting experience.  RESUMES SHOULD BE IN PDF format.
*[Make sure you name your resume has as your name. Example: janedoe.jpg We receive 100’s of resume files with no reference of sender]. See Item #7 Below.

#4. TAKE YOUR TIME TO PERSONALIZE AND SEND NICE PACKAGE OR PRESENTATION - Avoid sending a blank email with just a head-shot and a resume. Take your time and make each email seem that it took time and effort before you press send on your computer screen. Personalize your e-mail or the cover letter you send. Give reasons why you feel you would be the right person for the cast or how being a part of this production would enhance your acting.  Avoid sending obvious generic emails. For example, “To whom it may concern” is an obvious and dead giveaway that this email is simply a draft that is recycled over and over to numerous casting directors. Take your time and do your research on the director or casting director is. Something as simple as addressing them by their name can go a long way.

#5. – ASK QUESTIONS- If you have any questions or concerns address them in your email. It is often considered rude, to quit a project later because you failed to ask the casting director earlier for more information. There is “usually” no such thing as a dumb question.

#6. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE– Typically the earlier you submit the higher your chances of possibly being cast. So do not wait until the last minute to submit to any opportunity. Most of the time the people who waited ultimately missed their chance of acting in a major feature film.

#7.  INCLUDE YOUR NAME IN THE FILE NAME OF ALL PHOTOS AND RESUMES – This seems straightforward but it is surprising how many people just put “headshot” or “resume”. To you, you may know what it is, but to the casting team that may have hundreds of people it’s a good way to get lost in the crowd. Good examples: “LastName FirstName Headshot.jpg” or “Headshot – FirstName LastName.jpg” This helps keeps things organized for everyone and looks much more professional. Number them if there are multiples. Do not leave the file named as the original name generated, i.e., “Image1094bfdg4k7.jpg” or “Image01.jpg”

#8. PROVIDE LINK TO DEMO REEL OR VIDEO SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK - Having a Demo Reel is ideal, but sending them any decent quality video with your acting in it helps a lot. It's best to upload your video somewhere (YouTube, Vimeo, etc) and share that link in your submission. Avoid attaching your videos to the email because chances are, the file size will be too large to send via email. Also, avoid using zip files because many will delete them without opening out of fear of computer viruses. Don't share videos via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram because not everyone can view them, and that's really for your personal life, not professional.

 #9. INCLUDE CONTACT INFO IN RESUME - Make sure all of your contact information is included. [See Item #7 above]

#10. NO AGENT REQUIRED - iFilmGroup will cast you even if you don’t have an agent. But if you have an agent then your agent's contact information should be included and up-to-date on your resume.

#11. IF YOU HAVE A ACTING WEBSITE, INCLUDE IT! – If you have a website for acting or an IMDb account or listing. Include it as additional information that the casting team can look at.

Many of these same steps and information can apply to those wishing to apply for the crew.

* If you are selected the iFilmGroup team will contact you for an interview or audition and supply you with further details.